Round 1, Game 1: Lightning @ Leafs, 7:30pm (EST)

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Finally, after a grueling 82 games, the Leafs get a chance to prove that they’re a team that can win hockey games when it matters.

After being ousted by the Montreal Canadiens last season it seems that a lot of fans still haven’t forgiven this core group of players, and who can blame them? Montreal has gone on to finish last in the NHL this year and, in a regular season that didn’t consist of a Canadian Division, wouldn’t have made the playoffs last year. You can’t build a 3-1 series lead against a team like that, only to lose the next three games and, ultimately, the series and expect fans to just keep on believing in their ability to win a playoff round.

Yes, they posted the best regular season record in franchise history this year, which is no small feat, but this fan base isn’t asking for regular season wins. While you need to win enough games to get you into the post-season, it’s what you do when you get there that defines a team.

Thus far, this team has been defined by blown leads, passionless play and embarrassing results.

And yet, we’re still here.

We’re still watching as this team gets set to face the back-to-back and reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning. So, you’ll have to forgive me if I predict the Leafs to be ousted from the playoffs in 6 games or less. The simple fact of the matter is that this isn’t the Montreal Canadiens they’re about to play. This is the team that finally put an end to the Habs run last year, in commanding fashion. They beat the Canadiens to a pulp in the finals last season, which makes you wonder just what the Leafs are in for this year.

And yet, we’re still here.

We’re ready to watch and be disappointed, while fan boys tell so many of us that we’re not real fans, that we don’t cheer the way a real fan would cheer. To them I’d say this…..

Fuck off!!!

Because we’re still here.

The question is, how long will we get to be here to watch this season?

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Enjoy the game.